Writing Systems

Exploring writing systems and the materiality of visible language to explore the ways in which a text’s embodiment can influence its rhetorical, structural, and experiential dimensions

In this course, each student chose a text of personal interest to explore throughout 8 weeks. Through iterations and various experiments, we explored how various technologies might influence the read and presentation of a text as well as seeking out ways in which to infuse a secondary voice into the emerging project. The final outcome that I created was a theoretical augmented park experience that educates and provokes further questions on the Material Ecology methodology that has been championed by Neri Oxman.

Time: FALL 2021 // Dev Studio 2: Texts

Role: Designer

Tools: Touchdesigner, After Effects, Cinema4D, Photoshop, Augment App


Writing systems and their articulation sit at the intersection of technology, language, and culture. The ability to reproduce these systems is integral to deeply-rooted cultural notions regarding memory, power, history, the nation-state, personal identity, media and definitions of authority and knowledge.

This course will move beyond the concerns about typographic style that dominate most text-based design discussions and instead explore the design of texts as the visual manifestation of these intersections between technology, language, and culture and the staging of these systems as mechanisms that engage with and interact with people. We will look at how the design of tools for reading and writing influence what can be said, how it can be said, and by whom, and there by, act as agents in issues of power, access and authority. Students will examine the materiality of visible language and explore the ways in which a text’s embodiment can influence its rhetorical, structural, and experiential dimensions.


For this project, I really had to get comfortable with the exploration phase of a design brief that is immensly open ended in order to come to conclusions. We started by exploring ways in which presenting texts in various mediums might influence the read of a text. My three explorations were motion graphics, augmented reality, and imessage:

I expanded on some of my motion graphic ideas in search of finding a more conotative graphical language to express the ideas in Neri's paper:

I also continued to explore ideas in presenting ideas in augmented spaces:

While searching for ways to create a greater project out of my explorations while presenting two voices (Neri's and my own), I thought of the idea of creating an augmented park space in which users could be educated on Neri's ideas while also provoked by questions in which the affordances of augmented reality might influence the ideas of Material Ecology:

I started by exploring a visual language to present both Neri's and my own through a motion posters:

Thus began my various iterations to hone in on the idea and finding a legible yet effective method to present this information. Here are a sampling of various tests on the path to figuring this out:


This project pushed my creative mind to its limits. I gained a new appreciation for exploration through iteration by being told to make all of the ideas I have and then once that was finished, make 20 more. I also have focused my attention to the representation of ideas through various technological lenses while considering the affordances and restrictions that they provide.

Instructors: Sean Donahue and Jennifer Rider